Private/Unlisted YouTube Videos Included in Google Web Crawl Without User Consent

Google’s optical character recognition software is a key element of what makes the search engine giant so good at discovering and listing newly published web pages and offering said web pages in their search results. However, YouTube videos that are unlisted or private should ideally not be included in the web crawl that discovers pages. After all, the fact that these videos are not listed means that they are meant for private use, ergo they are not in the public domain.

A programmer by the name of Austin Burk recently discovered the user agent named “Google-YouTube-Links” which scanned a private video that he uploaded. This is strange because it seems like there is a specific web crawler designed for this purpose. This is in spite of the fact that the privacy policies of both YouTube as well as Google don’t mention anything of the sort.

This means that YouTube is simply not a safe place for you to upload your private videos. The internet is a big place so it can be easy to forget the importance of things like privacy and the maintenance of your security. This is why it is important to have a no nonsense approach to things like this.

The fact that Google does not tell users outright that it is scanning private videos is highly concerning. The tech giant has been in a lot of hot water recently, especially after the public began to understand just how much data Google takes from you at all times. Facebook has recently been found to be the most mistrusted company by the public after similar violations of user privacy and manipulation of data. Google’s tech empire might crumble if it doesn’t start taking user privacy a lot more seriously than it currently does.

Google is reading text in YouTube videos for search crawling without user consent
Photo: BRYAN R. SMITH via Getty Images

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